Steve Chiotakis: Over in Silicon Valley, a patent war is breaking out. The battle is between big smart phone titans. Companies such as Apple and Google,who are in a race to buy up patents from defunct tech firms.
Here’s Marketplace’s Steve Henn.
Steve Henn: Apple recently spent $2.6 billion as part of a consortium that bought up thousands of mobile tech patents from Nortel Networks, a bankrupt Canadian tech company. So is Apple planning to use these patents to build great new stuff? Probably not.
Chetan Sharma: They are using patents to slow down their competitors or even remove the competitors from the field.
Chetan Sharma is a mobile analyst and patent expert. He says when an industry expands as quickly as the smartphone market did, companies often end up using technology patented by firms that are no longer players. And they infringe on each others’ patents too.
By buying up patents they can force the competition to pay patent fees — and raise the price of competing products.
Sharma: Additionally, it also allows the company to start a new revenue stream.
The next big prize in the multi-billion patent war is a company called Interdigital. Its only real assets are thousands of mobile patents — just what Apple and Google are looking for.
In Silicon Valley, I’m Steve Henn for Marketplace.
If you’re a member of your local public radio station, we thank you — because your support helps those stations keep programs like Marketplace on the air. But for Marketplace to continue to grow, we need additional investment from those who care most about what we do: superfans like you.
Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.
When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.